I am grateful to the Tri-City Herald for reprinting the excellent and much needed article, “States help get heroin antidote into hands of regular folks,” on Monday, 5/18/15. The online version, dated 3/17/15 gives additional details about how Narcan works to save lives.
Important discussions are already taking place in the Mid-Columbia region among people who are involved in public health advocacy, social and community services, law enforcement and public policy. The discussion needs to be broader, it needs to include the general public, and needs to be better informed.
People are becoming more aware of the epidemic of misuse of prescription pain medication, the black market in these drugs, the danger of fatal overdoses, and the rapidly expanding market for heroin, which is cheaper and more accessible than prescription medication. I understand that Narcan is now available in emergency rooms and may be available to first responders.
At the same time we need to understand that these are complicated problems: hard data, that is current, is scarce. We need an early warning system. We should heed the quote, attributed to Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”